Debi Pearl and the Seed Corn

Debi Pearl and the Seed Corn September 23, 2020

Screen shot of the fear mongering that the Pearls are currently trying to exploit for dollars.

Over the past few weeks Michael and Debi Pearl have been promoting a disaster preparedness page on their site. They are claiming that this is because they are getting more and more worried communications from readers on preparing for, well, not exactly end times, but something.

We’ve all seen the bloviating and fear mongering by just about everyone in Evangelical circles over the many Black Lives Matter rallies and marches, and the fears over election violence.  The great irony of all of this is that many Evangelicals are the very ones killing others, or threatening peaceful marchers with deadly weapons. I believe they are busy setting up an excuse to take violent criminal actions if President Donald J. Trump loses. They are claiming they are merely preparing for the violence from the Democratic Party and BLM. Fantasyland.

We’ve seen this before. Does anyone remember the panic and predictions of worldwide doom that swept through the Quiverfull Evangelical world in the two years leading up to the milleneum? The Y2K panic? Our church brought in lecturers on survivalist training, urged everyone to buy handguns, dehydrated foods, generators, stockpile toilet paper and all sorts of things.

I never bought into it, having a bit more understanding on how the world worked. Called up a friend of mine with 20 cases of toilet paper after New Years came and went and asked her what she was going to do with all that toilet paper.

Some out there are still trying to make a comfortable living  exploiting end of the world scenarios and violence. Cough, cough, Jim *Flood Buckets/Silver Solution* Bakker I am looking at you.

Reading through all the fear monger-y nonsense at the Pearls No Greater Joy I stumbled across this particular piece, where Debi Pearl tells you how to use animal feed to feed your children. The entire story is vastly different than the other versions of this animal feed story. In the past Debi has said they were existing on dented cat food cans and animal feed corn all given to them by their parishioners. Now she’s making it sound like a conscience choice to live on feedlot corn.

Remember her complaints of the winter living on cabbage and potatoes and feed corn? It was all nasty and ungrateful. In this piece she makes it sound like a virtue.

“I guess the old man down the road figured the dumb city folks needed a helping hand. He brought over a small sack of brown looking rough corn meal. He explained to me this was just field corn, the kind you feed to animals. Any dried corn will do. You can buy it straight from a farmer or from your local farmers co-op. It is cheaper than potting soil. This past year we paid less than $3.00 per bushel. A bushel will fill up two five gallon buckets. A pick-up truck full would only cost $50.00. It is easy to store. Some farmers just dump it in an open bin in the barn. You can put it in barrels, buckets, or boxes. It must be kept dry, and in warm weather it must be sealed or the bugs will eat it. There are easy ways to kill the bugs before sealing it in buckets. You could get that information from a library (as long as they remain open). But we planned to eat it before the next summer. A bug or two never hurt anybody anyway.”

Hmm, very different than her original story. Interesting historical revisionism going on here.

“He told me to roast it lightly in the oven (Indians put the whole cob in warm ashes until it roasted to a golden brown) and then grind it coarsely with my cheap little flea market grinder. If you didn’t have a grinder, you could do as the Indians did—beat it with a piece of wood. For breakfast every morning we would stir it into boiling water to make a delicious hot cereal. Our neighbors call it corn mush. A bushel or two will provide breakfast for the family throughout the winter. The first time we tried it we added a little cream given to us by a neighbor. It was delicious. You will recall that roasted corn was what Boaz offered Ruth when he woke to find her at his feet. The leftover corn mush soon firms up and can be sliced and pan fried to make an evening snack. The snack would never make it to McDonalds as a famous special, but it was almost free, and filling.”

Please do not do this! Many times feed lot corn is treated with chemicals, and not safe for people to eat.

She makes it sounds almost charming, going on to give ideas on how to use it, making it sound like it is no different than getting a bag of coarse cornmeal. She cites native uses for corn and how to prepare it.

Then Debi goes on to claim that poverty is a blessing.

“Before the winter was over I was making stuffed everything with anything. That long, cold, lean winter finally ended. We planted the leftover corn that Spring. I learned that in time of famine the humble corn seed can feed a family well. I also learned being poor can make you or break you. Sometimes a family’s greatest handicap is having too much too easy. Creativity, work ethics, confidence and emotional balance are often sacrificed in the wake of a parent being successful. Even in the middle of washing our clothes in a large vat over a fire while trying to figure out what I could feed the family next, I was happy, happier than I could ever remember. And when Nanny and Daddy Bill came to visit and brought peanut butter I was thrilled. We learned how to be resourceful because we had to. We learned how to be thankful because doing without made having a little seem so good. We learned how to work together because we needed each other to survive. Our children weren’t told they were needed, they weren’t patted on the back when they did their chores, they weren’t given positive affirmation by reminding them how important they were, they were living in reality. They saw that what they did mattered. A life like that grows strong kids. They learned to be survivors. Don’t regret your struggles; joy in the opportunity to grow. Don’t fear tomorrow; make a plan to overcome. And when the lean times come, remember, you can always eat corn.”

And there we go, that romanticizing living without again. The sad thing is due to the complete lack of adqueate money in that household they would have qualified for both WIC and food stamps. She didn’t have to live that way. When you stupidly plunge your family into voluntary poverty to make a theological point then your theology is abusive and wrong.

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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 34 years You can read more about the author here.

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